Social Entrepreneurialism And Sustainability Essay


Social Entrepreneurship Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he can feed himself for life. How could you put this principle into practice through the development of a social entrepreneurship venture?

Development of Social Entrepreneurialism

Corporate Social Responsibility


Social Inequality

Social Entrepreneurship and Food

Social entrepreneurship was introduced in the 1970s to address the issue of social sustainably and the term "social entrepreneur." This analysis will begin by providing a brief history as well as a working definition for the concept of social entrepreneurialism. It will also discuss some of the related movements that have been working towards some of the same goals, albeit, from different directions to address various challenges in society and the environment. Furthermore, a more detailed overview of the exact challenges that are present in society that social entrepreneurialism can work to address will be outlined that include environmental problems and social issues such as inequality. Finally, the concepts developed within the study will then be applied to a specific social problem to illustrate some of the ways that a social entrepreneur might work to solve them.

Development of Social Entrepreneurialism

Social entrepreneurship was introduced in the 1970s to address the issue of social sustainably and the term "social entrepreneur" was first mentioned in 1972 by Joseph Banks in his seminal work named The Sociology of Social Movements, where he used the term to describe the need to use managerial skills to address social problems as well as to address business challenges (El Ebrashi, 2013). The concept of social entrepreneurship evolved as part of the entrepreneurship literature, despite the fact that most of the entrepreneurship literature focused on the creation of new ventures to produce profits. However, forming new ventures and their outcomes were not identified for profit making, rather they replaced the notion of individual value creation (creating wealth) with a more holistic concept of value creation that included a broader set of stakeholders, such as on the level of the community and community development goals.



Core Characteristics

Bornstein (1998)

A social entrepreneur is a path breaker with a powerful new idea who combines visionary and real-world problem-solving creativity, has a strong ethical fiber, and is totally possessed by his or her vision for change.

Mission leader


Thompson et al. (2000)

Social entrepreneurs are people who realize where there is an opportunity to satisfy some unmet need that the state welfare system will not or cannot meet, and who gather together the necessary resources (generally people, often volunteers, money, and premises) and use these to "make a difference." "

Emotionally charged

Social value creator

Dees (1998)

Social entrepreneurs play the role of change agents in the social sector by:

Adopting a mission to create and sustain social value

Recognizing and relentlessly pursuing new opportunities to serve that mission;

Engaging in a process of continuous innovation, adaptation, and learning;

Acting boldly without being limited by resources currently in hand;

Exhibiting a heightened sense of accountability to the constituencies served for the outcomes created.

Change agent

Highly accountable


Socially alert

Brinckerhoff (2009)

A social entrepreneur is someone who takes reasonable risk on behalf of the people their organization serves.

Opinion leader

Leadbeater (1997)

Social entrepreneurs are entrepreneurial, innovative, and "transformatory" individuals who are also: leaders, storytellers, people managers, visionary opportunists and alliance builders. They recognize a social problem and organize, create, and manage a venture to make social change.



Zahra et al. (2008)

Social entrepreneurship encompasses the activities and processes undertaken to discover, define, and exploit opportunities in order to enhance social wealth by creating new ventures or managing existing organizations in an innovative manner.


Initiative taker

Opportunity alert

Ashoka (2012)

Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society's most pressing social problems [ ... ] They are both visionaries and ultimate realists, concerned with the practical implementation of their vision above all else.



Table 1 - Contrasting definitions and core characteristics of the terms "social entrepreneur" and "social entrepreneurship" (Abu-Saifan, 2012)

Entrepreneurship has also been described as the process in which an entrepreneur goes about discovering a fit between certain needs and resources, establishing an innovative venture, working on the venture's growth, pursuing more opportunities to continuously innovate in the venture and producing sensible outcomes (El Ebrashi, 2013). The outcomes of social entrepreneurship are different from traditional entrepreneurship, and measurement of those outcomes is also different and social entrepreneurs have been known to focus on market failures, which resembles the function of entrepreneurs as well; market failures are not only related to price disequilibria or the inability of some people to access certain products or services, rather they focus on some of the issues related to externalities and public goods, and distributional equity (El Ebrashi, 2013).

These concepts later began to receive support as social entrepreneurship practices emerged in the 1980s when the establishment of Ashoka (, which was the first organization to support social entrepreneurs in the world and now is the largest network...


This organizations mission is to (Ashoka, N.d.):
"To support social entrepreneurs who are leading and collaborating with changemakers, in a team of teams model that addresses the fluidity of a rapidly evolving society. Ashoka believes that anyone can learn and apply the critical skills of empathy, team work, leadership and changemaking to be successful in the modern world."

Furthermore, Ashoka has been one of the pioneers in developing the social entrepreneur concept and creating a network to support these entrepreneurs.

Figure 1 -- Entrepreneurial Spectrum (Abu-Saifan, 2012)

Corporate Social Responsibility

Many of the same concerns about how capitalism can disadvantage certain segments of the society have manifested through many other more mainstream channels in the business world as well. For example, the term "social innovation" was described in the work of Drucker (1990), who wrote about the need for using management practices in non-profit organizations to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of producing social good (El Ebrashi, 2013). Furthermore, some of the world's largest corporations have become the targets of activist groups and concerned citizens in regards to how they perform on social and environmental measures, which has shifted their focus from measuring their performance along financial metrics alone. In response to growing concerns about business ethics and sustainable practices, many new frameworks have been developed to attempt to include these factors in the narrative.

In response to the growing pressures relative to consumer expectations and governmental regulations, many corporations are including alternative measures of performance in addition to their primary financial objectives. Much of the literature groups the social and ecological performance concerns together in a concept known as corporate social responsibility (CSR). The definition of CSR is rather vague and all-encompassing, however CSR can be broadly thought of as measure of organizations meet the primary objectives of their immediate stakeholders as well as the extended set of relevant stakeholders, society, and the environment in general (Ecchia, et al., 2007). For example, most people include the treatment of a broader set of stakeholders but the actual boundaries for the extended set may vary significantly, and CSR initiatives can focus on the local community while others might tackle global issues or social issues in underdeveloped nations.

Much of the CSR trend is being fueled by globalization and the massive international growth of corporations, as well as with the advancement of technology which has allowed consumers to be more aware of the operations that are responsible for the products they buy. Consumers can now research a corporations CSR performance from their smartphones while they are in the store making purchasing decisions on the spot. Many people have tried to determine how the CSR performance that an organization exhibits influences their primary financial performance. One such study developed a framework by considering the salience of stakeholders, their perceptions of the CSR effort, and their collective ability to impact a corporation's financial performance (CFP) (Peloza & Papania, 2008).

There has been growing evidence that broadening the category of stakeholders and their objectives can have a positive benefit to organizations, including to their financial performance. However, such these relationships are far from clear and there has also been a significant amount of conflicting evidence that suggests that socially responsible companies actually are valued less than control sample in the market in a longitudinal study (Becchetti & Ciciretti, 2009). However, despite a general correlation being illusive, there are also many indirect benefits that an organization may gain including (Nwaneri, 2015):

Savings from operational cost

Good corporate image

Increased ability to attract and retain qualify staff

Better relations with government

Sharper anticipation and management of risk

Learning and innovation


The social entrepreneurship model has been said to be targeted at externalities in the current production model. The problem of externalities is one economist have struggled with for generations. Externalities are costs or benefits that do not get included in the economic model. The largest problem the current economic model and the distribution of resources in society rest on the externalities that are not counted in the system. Therefore, to understand sustainable development the concepts of externalities must also be understood. One definition of externality is as follows:

"Externalities are indirect effects of consumption or production activity,…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Abu-Saifan, S., 2012. Social Entrepreneurship: Definition and Boundaries. [Online]

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[Accessed 28 April 2016].

Ashoka, N.d.. Vision and Mission. [Online]
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